Well here we are 2019!
The New Year naturally coaxes us in to thinking about the future, what we want to change or what we are less satisfied or unhappy with. This often results in resolutions which can easily leave us feeling pressured and, if we slip up, like we have failed. I actually don’t like the whole New Year ‘resolution’ thing for these exact reasons so prefer instead to think about goals for the year ahead and beyond.
There is however the natural ‘starting over’ feeling that comes with the new year. I find myself thinking about the year gone by, what’s happened, the challenges I’ve faced, the things I’ve done and perhaps haven’t done and what I would like to be doing and my dreams and desires. This process of taking stock has been even more prevalent than in previous years because of the big, unplanned changes that I’ve experienced and the uncertainty these changes brought throughout 2018.
Two New Years ago, I was in a very different place. Newly separated from an adulterous husband and in the midst of a very difficult situation. My world had collapsed and Christmas alone had been hard enough to get through, let alone having to face a New Year. I just wanted the world to go away. It was too overwhelming to think about anything ‘future’ and I was still just getting through each day.
Then, last New Year, though a year had passed and I was much happier, I was still in the middle of a very acrimonious divorce, had no idea whether I would be able to stay in my home and faced what felt like a continuous onslaught of vicious communications via solicitors. It was an uneasy start to 2018 and I began the year feeling anxious as to what was ahead.
At this point I realise that unless you have been following me for a while you’re probably wondering what on earth I am on about. MY original post on what happened is here and the update post I wrote last New Years is here.
There’s no denying that the first half of 2018 was complicated but I really couldn’t write much about it. Other than a few references on Instagram posts around the time of the divorce court dates, I felt limited in what I could say. The solicitors’ letters I mentioned earlier made it abundantly clear that I was being watched and every word scrutinised. They mocked this blog and my Instagram in an attempt to belittle me and therefore my case.
I also genuinely didn’t know how exhausted I would be from it all so while I knew I left the story ‘hanging’ especially for those that had followed my journey from the beginning or those that had found some benefit in what I had written previously – those who had faced or were facing their own similar challenges – I just didn’t want to write any more about it. Not until I felt ready to do so and that had to be from a balanced place and not as a knee-jerk reaction to all that had happened.
And these things take time to process. I think that when you have been on the hamster-wheel of a crazy situation while you try to process it as you go along, it’s only really once it draws to a conclusion that you can then begin to really digest it all.
So, in mid May, once the divorce became final, I suppose thats what I did. I just let my mind ‘file’ everything that had happened.
In the beginning I had the urge to just run away but I had started a new job (the week before my court dates – great timing Katy) and had to keep going. On the one hand, I had such a huge sense of freedom but at the same time I was so tired and I also felt a little bit lost. When you’ve been in battle for so long there’s a strange sense of the relief that it’s over mixed with a not quite knowing what to do with yourself.
I hoped that ‘that was it’ and I could finally move on with no more complications. But unfortunately throughout this whole situation its never been that long before something or other has happened thats caused further hassle or upset. Sure enough, just a few months after the Divorce was made final I was sent a shot of a post that my ex’s partner, the girl he had had an affair with, had posted publicly at the time of the final court date explicitly detailing how the divorce was ‘finally over’ like it was hers to talk about. A vulgar move in itself, yet she also distastefully gloated over celebrating with a ‘divorce party’ while making pathetic attempts to justify their behaviour from the start. Here was someone who had knowingly had an affair with a married man, (something I now know she had attempted with other married men several times before) who had done something most people would agree is wrong, now making the situation all about her and desperately trying to justify it. No apologies, no feeling of remorse or any expression of what a horrible situation it had been, how they had never meant to hurt anyone or other such words that any decent human being might convey. In all honesty, those words wouldn’t have undone their wrong doing but it would have at least demonstrated some empathy or ownership of what they had done. So it was baffling to read. A painful enough situation made even more so by the immature ramblings of someone clearly unattached to the reality of the situation. Interestingly, my ex husband however stayed silent on the subject and I can only imagine the embarrassment he must have felt from her outburst.
If that wasn’t enough, shortly after, I then learnt through a well-meaning friend that this girl, who’s previous social media exploits have focused predominantly around posting endless filtered ‘selfies,’ had started her own interiors and renovation account.
It’s very difficult to put in to context just how much that unsettled me because there is a huge amount of the story that I have never spoken about and I’m no psychologist so would hate to speculate about the traits of another person that I effectively don’t know but, safe to say, there’s been much that has happened that hasn’t ‘sat right.’ For example, I was aware that in the early months of her relationship with my ex, she had created several ‘copycat’ type pictures – almost recreating images that had been on my or my ex-husband’s feeds. Ok, maybe a bit weird (we all thought) but people do copy other people. But, when coupled with the fact that I had also had several acquaintances of hers (strangers to me) contact me to share their disgust at what she had done and tell me the narcissistic type of person they knew her really to be, I started to get concerned. Even my ex husband indicated that she had checked his emails, messages and social media so, in this context, it didn’t feel harmless but instead very uncomfortable. It felt like she was seemingly trying to replicate my life which was a step too far – an opinion shared by many who could see that this was getting increasingly odd. At this point I seriously considered closing down my Instagram account.
On the one hand, my Instagram ‘hobby’ had helped me through a horrible time and channelled my energy in to something creative. It had allowed me to focus on something positive and take my attention away from all that nonsense and given me access to a community so unbelievably supportive and kind. But at the same time, knowing this potentially was another area she was attempting to replicate was just too much. It really made me pull back and consider a way to stop this ongoing behaviour. My motivation for blogging plummeted. I still posted pictures on Instagram to ‘tick over’ but less frequently and never with the passion I had before.
I’m still not 100% certain on the longer term but, right now, I have managed to reach a place where it doesn’t bother me if I’m being watched or not. I’m happy in the knowledge that sharing this story has helped so many others and I’ve always been proud of the way I have handled myself when the temptation to react or retaliate was there.
Looking back over the year, I can see how far I have come… 2018 started as a ‘just get through it’ time and evolved to a place of moving on. I didn’t know how I would feel post-Divorce. I hadn’t known a time since being separated or when this crazy old situation hadn’t been part of my life so with it all over (well over-ish) I think I did pretty well.
What helped was having time away, mini holidays and time just ‘being.’ I have definitely continued to learn to face my emotions and thoughts head on, not distract or divert from them and that remaining almost static is ok when you just need to regroup and recover. We don’t always need to be racing on to the next thing (extremely difficult for someone like me who is a perpetual ‘doer’). I have also learnt that healing takes time and that there is no ‘time limit’. It takes as long as it takes and that’s ok. Being patient with it and being kind to yourself is important.
I still process difficult feelings but I embrace them now and work through them. I struggle sometimes with anger at myself for ever being married to the person I was and that if feels like a large part of my life was wasted. The feelings of being hurt and let down still rise up occasionally along with a sense of the injustice of what I was put through but I know these feelings will fade. Most of all, I just want to focus on my life, me, my people and the future.
So my only resolution I guess (remember I don’t like them) is to be kind to myself. That is non-negotiable. I feel I have more headspace now and I’m starting this year without a whole heap of baggage to deal with. I’ll develop my goals as I go, it’s a work in progress as are most things in life. Most of all though, I’m excited to just continue to ‘go with the flow’ and see where life takes me in a ‘littlest hobo’ kind of way.